(BPT) - If you're one of the millions of people who's been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, pain can put a damper on your enjoyment of warm weather activities.
'I was always an active person, going to the gym several times a week and working in my garden,' says Mary Ann J. age 58, diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis several years ago. 'I never sat still. Then, I started to develop knee pain. It affected the activities I enjoyed most.'
If you find yourself planning activities around knee pain, avoiding exercise or still suffering in pain despite your current treatments, these four tips can help:
1. Get educated. Did you know that knee osteoarthritis is more than just cartilage loss? The fluid that cushions your joint may break down and bone spurs can develop. To learn more about what's going on in a knee with osteoarthritis visit www.healthline.com/OAK.
2. Make sure your doctor understands your knee pain. An X-ray can tell your doctor what stage your knee osteoarthritis is, but what really matters is how the pain is affecting you. Surprisingly, the stage of your osteoarthritis is not always connected to your amount of pain. Before your next appointment, write down a list of activities that have become more difficult because of your knee pain. For example, is knee pain affecting you at work? Are you not able to exercise as much as you'd like? Is the pain making it difficult to sleep?
3. Keep trying treatments until you find one that works for you. You may be familiar with pain pills and knee replacement surgery but there are many other options. Viscosupplement injections lubricate the joint and can provide up to six months of osteoarthritis knee pain relief. Older methods of the treatment required a series of three to five injections, but newer treatments require just one.
4. Don't wait too long to see a specialist. A doctor who specializes in knee pain can be very helpful in guiding you through all the treatment options, even in the early stages of knee osteoarthritis. The most common specialists for knee osteoarthritis are orthopedic surgeons, pain management, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and rheumatologists.
Most importantly, don't give up on finding options for managing your osteoarthritis knee pain. 'After I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee and found the right doctor, we kept trying until we found a treatment that worked for me,' says Mary Ann. 'Now I'm able to enjoy the things I love again, like gardening. I was even able to take a trip to Europe!'
To learn more about knee osteoarthritis and find out about all your treatment options, visit www.healthline.com/OAK.